National Grid Ventures and Dutch transmission system operator TenneT have signed a cooperation agreement to link Dutch and British offshore wind farms to the energy systems of both countries.

A multi-purpose interconnector (MPI) capable of simultaneously connecting up to 4GW of British and Dutch offshore wind between the British and Dutch electricity systems will be built, providing an additional 2GW of interconnection capacity between the countries.

By connecting the systems, the MPI will enable spare transmission capacity to be used to trade electricity between the countries, the duo said, thereby increasing the potential utilisation of offshore infrastructure.

The development – the first of the kind for the UK and the Netherlands in the North Sea – will support the UK’s goal of 40GW of new offshore wind by 2030, which National Grid said will require “significant amounts of new infrastructure and close cooperation between countries around the North Sea”.

The two companies are aiming to have a pathfinder project defined by the end of 2021 and an operational asset by 2029.

Jon Butterworth, managing director of National Grid Ventures, said: “Multi-purpose interconnectors have the potential to act as a key enabler for new offshore wind projects and we’re delighted to be partnering once again with TenneT to deliver an innovative vision to help realise the full green energy potential of the North Sea”.

The Netherlands is also planning on expanding offshore wind capacity in the North Sea, with a target of 11.5GW by 2030 and another increase of 20-40GW by 2050.

The Dutch government also recently decided to future-proof the first far shore high voltage direct current (HVDC) 2GW offshore transmission grids in the Netherlands for the IJmuiden Ver Wind Farm Zone, which is approximately 80km off the North-West coast.

Manon van Beek, CEO of TenneT, said that the Dutch transmission system operator has been “at the forefront of developing multi-purpose interconnection to enable the large-scale growth of offshore wind in the North Sea”.

“This agreement allows us to work with National Grid in the North Sea to develop innovative infrastructure that uses every spare electron of offshore wind generation to reach our decarbonisation targets.”